An excellent tool for learning Greenlandic by yourself!

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Liv Molich has a website: Learn Greenlandic. There is an accompanying printed workbook Kompendium til Grønlandsk 1 2. This workbook is written in Danish and is thus by default directed specifically to the Danish speaking readership. However, I choose to write this review in English because a wider audience should take notice of it.

Liv Molich’s Kompendium is just that: a workbook accompaniment to a language course. It makes no claim to be anything else. However, the 97 A4 pages can in fact be read on their own and the workbook is remarkably self-contained. Add in the QR-code links to digital resources, and it is a full language course for the beginner in its own right. I chose to …

Lingua Franca: Elusive contact language of Christian slave colony based in Algiers finally pinned down


Not long ago, I wrote a review on, discussing Nolan’s (2020) book The Elusive case of Lingua Franca. That book was an open-ended study akin to an enchanting yet frustrating detective novel, in search of the famous contact language of the Mediterranean. It discusses the difficulties in tracing that famous ‘mixture of all languages, by means of which we can all understand one another’, ‘that all over Barbary and even in Constantinople is the medium between captives and Moors, and is neither Morisco nor Castilian, nor of any other nation’, as Miguel de Cervantes describes in Chapter XLI of the Don Quixote, most probably, the “Lingua Franca”.

Cervantes wrote the masterpiece of Don Quixote …

Learning about language by creating a language – a fun and creative approach to teaching linguistics

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If you are reading this blogpost, you probably know what linguistics is. However, most people don’t know what to make of the term or have only a vague idea – it’s something about grammar, maybe? Those unknowing people would probably never choose a course titled ‘Introduction to Linguistics’ as an elective, as it sounds either too dry or too daunting. But what if introductory linguistics courses were taught under another cover – that of creating your own language?

Using language invention in the classroom has been increasing in popularity, and courses on language invention have been successful around the world. The book Language Invention in Linguistics Pedagogy explores this new field. It is edited by Jeffrey Punske, Nathan Sanders and …

Papiamentu: a new description of a young language

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A new book has just appeared, describing and analysing the grammar of Papiamentu, the principal language of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao (aka the ABC islands), three islands off the coast of Venezuela. It is the first in a new book series from Brill Publishers edited by Peter Bakker, dedicated specifically to contact languages, including pidgins, creoles and mixed languages.

As the world is home to an estimated 7,000 different languages, you have to ask yourself why you would want to spend time looking specifically into Papiamentu. Does this language in any way stand out as special or unique?

In fact, it does.

First of all, Papiamentu is a creole language. This means that, like other creole languages, it was formed …

Reading other people’s letters for the good of science. What the ‘early years of phonology’ can teach us now

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In order to trace the history of ideas, we can turn to a number of resources. Sometimes, it is through a scholar’s public words: acknowledgements or references. The latter – in the form of footnotes (Grafton 1997) or indices (Duncan 2021) – have been argued to be where the true academic allegiances and challenges are set out and displayed. However, sometimes the networks of information exchange and influence can be searched for fruitfully in private documents. It is precisely such private documents which make up the resource used in the book From the early years of Phonology. The Roman Jakobson – Eli Fischer-Jørgensen correspondence 1949-1982, edited by Viggo Bank Jensen and Giuseppe D’Ottavi.

From the early years of Phonology

The introduction opens with the question …

Book Review: ‘In the Land of Invented Languages’ by Arika Okrent


Not so long ago, I was a stranger in a particularly strange land. The land was that of invented languages, and my guide was Arika Okrent, linguist and professional writer. My ticket was a bright red paperback with zany white lettering on the front. The journey lasted just over 800 years – the length of the recorded history of invented languages. Or perhaps that was the destination rather than the journey? I seem to have reached the outer border of this metaphor, so let’s cross over to a more tangible overview of Okrent’s book.

In the Land of Invented Languages was released in 2009 and is 293 pages long. The book is the result of five years of research into …

Book review: ‘European Language Matters’ by Peter Trudgill

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There’s a particular experience that I have encountered many times during my life, and which you might recognise from your own, that I tend to think of as ‘the geographic eureka’. I’m walking in an area that I’m familiar with, and I decide to stray from the path I know in order to explore some road less travelled. I’ll walk around for a stretch of time, every turn or fork in the road leading me to new areas with varying degrees of interest, and eventually I turn the corner that, completely unexpectedly, puts me back on familiar territory; which is when the feeling hits me: “Oh, so that’s where I am!”. Peter Trudgill’s newest book, European Language Matters, consistently …